Blog Posts for Social Change

Far and Beyond: to Fulfill a Promise

Posted by Elbert “EJ” Joseph, Sep 12, 2018 0 comments

My name is Elbert Joseph, I have cultures in me, because of experiences and battles; I have learned. I live in cultures where I have to pick between a community and the chance to fit in. My cultures are Black, Deaf, and Gay. Family, friends, and colleagues are different from each other. Not many of them understand about certain matters: with acting I have to learn mostly on my own to improve my articulation and diction, for the sole purpose of equalizing myself to my hearing peers. I combat hearing privilege in the theatre community, working twice as hard for my skill and talent to be seen and appreciated. But I had to choose to fight. 

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Advancing Diversity by Empowering the Arts in Our Nation’s Education Decision-making

Posted by Robert Lynch, Sep 10, 2018 0 comments

As young people around the country return to school, educators take the helm of their classrooms, and educational leaders build learning communities that inspire creative and innovative teaching and learning, the arts education community along with public and private sector leaders join together once again to celebrate National Arts in Education Week. As this school year begins, local school districts and state education leaders have more resources and policies under their supervision than ever before. Our job is to encourage, enable, and empower advocates to get to the negotiating table to strengthen arts education! They need to hear from us. Starting this week, we should get arts education leaders at every table for every decision impacting education and certainly arts education from here on out! 

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The Arts Administrator Job of Wearing Many Hats

Posted by Ms. Danel Malan, Sep 05, 2018 0 comments

I know we all wear a lot of hats, whether we do administrative work, or maybe as an educator and artist, or even in our daily lives as parents or partners. Managing those hats is the trick to our daily balancing act. Sometimes maybe we try to be bigger than we are, which is why collaboration is so vital to the success of a nonprofit. At my company, Teatro Milagro, we fostered a group of LatinX visual artists, and they formed their own small coalition under our nonprofit called LaxIdeal, and they manage many of the visual arts exhibitions and workshops that happen in our center and in other spaces around the city. Our efforts to collaborate with social service agencies and provide authentic arts experiences that highlight LatinX artists and performers is not just “a thing” that we do, but makes us a model of best practices.

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Five Reasons Why Public Art Matters

Posted by Ms. Patricia Walsh, Aug 30, 2018 1 comment

Public art matters to me because I see it as a platform for civic dialogue and as the most democratic of art forms. When done well, a public artwork engages citizens in conversation that can vary from understanding historical and cultural backgrounds, to driving attachment to place and social cohesion. In a world struggling with new ways to connect, public art can make public spaces more approachable. In June of this year, Americans for the Arts worked in collaboration with the 2018 Public Art Network (PAN) Advisory Council to launch “Why Public Art Matters” to provide the field with a tool to help educate community members, local decision makers, and other stakeholders on the value that public art can bring to cities and towns. The resource document provides talking points, reasons, data, and examples of how public art can positively impact a community in five specific areas.

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Creating the Conditions for Arts & Culture to Thrive: How can Arts Service Organizations Help Lay the Groundwork?

Posted by Ms. Megan L. Van Voorhis, Aug 29, 2018 0 comments

A few weeks ago, Genesee County, Michigan voters approved a millage to support their arts and cultural assets. Words can’t express how proud I am of Genesee County voters for investing in one of their greatest assets; however, they can express this: their collective investment has the potential to be a real game changer for Genesee County, the people who live there, and their arts and cultural community. How do I know this? Because that’s what happened in Cleveland following passage of one of the largest local option taxes for arts and culture in the country. Here are a few insights drawn from the work we did to stabilize our arts and culture sector and position it for greater influence in our community. Think of these as tips for fertilizing the soil to ensure arts and culture can thrive and grow in your city.

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Minneapolis: At the Corner of Arts and Justice

Posted by Katherine Peinhardt, Aug 15, 2018 0 comments

It is true what people say, that art can heal. But what if art can do more than that? Above and beyond that old maxim, a platform for the arts can bring a whole community to the table. The Hennepin Theatre Trust is exploring the intersection of public space, social justice, and local creativity as it works to improve the historic Hennepin Theatre District. Surpassing even the most ambitious examples of creative placemaking, the Hennepin Theatre Trust made a journey from “talking the talk” to truly “walking the walk” of community-building through the arts. Making Hennepin Avenue safer and livelier was not only a question of engaging theatre-goers; it was a matter of actively including the voices of local people experiencing homelessness who rely on Hennepin Avenue to be a safe haven. Through this project, HTT began to lift the curtain on who uses public spaces in West Downtown Minneapolis, and why.

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